In the interests of ecological defense, the fresh tinder is contained in this an excellent tin-foil covered basket hence avoided the new MnO

  1. A ignite is made
  2. The prepared tinder/MnOdos mixture receives the spark
  3. This new tinder starts to burn
  4. The smoke and gases decompose the MnO2, yielding additional oxygen
  5. The fresh new oxygen is utilized to improve the fresh combustion of one’s leftover tinder

This would imply that the MnO2 alone would be incapable of receiving a spark and that its function is limited to assisting already lit tinder. The use of the MnO2 powder must have been at a very small scale and may be required at a particular ratio or in combination with certain tinder materials. The laboratory experiments of Heyes et al. (2016) would seem to support this model of small-scale amounts being carefully applied to prepared tinder which are themselves capable of being lit with a spark. What is needed to validate this model is an actual experimental protocol which does not use heat coming from below the tinder but either from a small previously lit tinder source or from a hot spark in an outdoor setting.

Fresh Programme

To help you answer a few of the inquiries you to definitely emerged of an almost study of Heyes mais aussi al. (2016) the second fresh concerns and you may program were designed:

  1. What effectiveness does MnO2 have as a source of ignition within a tinder bundle?
  2. What effectiveness does MnO2 have as an aide to fire lighting?
  3. Does the type of tinder make a difference when considering how effective MnO2 is in either capacity?
  4. How much MnO2 should be added to be effective?

Here effectiveness is defined as making a noticeable difference to the act of fire lighting as compared to a tinder set up that contains no MnO2. In addition to these considerations, the decision was made to design the experiments to be as realistic as possible, in order to complement the laboratory study. This would potentially validate or disagree with the theory based on a more imprecise and realistic fire lighting scenario. Measurements of tinder and MnO2 were done by approximation and ratio rather than by a weighing scale. This actualistic approach necessarily lost elements of control, such as precision in measurement, but this improves the likelihood that the experiment was conducted under more realistic circumstances. The experiments were conducted outdoors at the York Experimental Archaeology Research Centre (YEAR) and tinder used were gathered and processed on site. The MnO2 was purchased from a commercial supplier ( as a finely ground powder with no additional compounds present. A ferrocerium fire starting rod was used for some of the experiments. These can reach temperatures of 3000? which acted as a criteria of exclusion; since flint/pyrite sparks are much lower in temperature then it can be safely assumed that if the ferrocerium rod failed to light the tinder, then a pyrite spark would also fail. 2 from entering the YEAR centre and contaminating or endangering local wildlife.


Three types of tinder were tested with different ratios of MnO2: birch bark strips, ground birch bark and powdered charcoal. The charcoal was produced from burning and gathering a mixture of horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), elder (Sambucus nigra), and birch (Betula pendula). This tinder was chosen and is well documented in the archaeological record of the Middle Palaeolithic as well as being examples of both poor (charcoal) and excellent (birch bark) tinder materials. The experimental protocols were divided into two, the first being to test the ignition capacity of MnO2 and the second to test the assistance of MnO2 in helping a lit tinder to combust.

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